1) This first group includes models which once existed and were then converted into an alternative car. For instance, the model of Mike Hailwood’s 1974 Yardley McLaren M23 (33) was converted to Emerson Fittipaldi’s 1975 McLaren M23 Texaco Marlboro car sporting car number ‘1’, in celebration of the previous year’s championship win. Later on, this same model was converted into James Hunt’s 1976 McLaren M23 (11). While this may seem odd (only photos to remind one of the past Yardley 1974 and the Texaco-Marlboro 1975 representations), the model does still live on, in its new form.
Indeed in the real past, this is exactly what would have happened at Colnbrook where the McLaren factory was based in the 1970’s. The 1974 monocoques would have been stripped-down, freshened up with new monocoque aluminium panels where required and the deformable bodywork replaced with any upgrades in design and new paintwork applied, thereafter Jochen Mass acquiring Fittipaldi’s late 1974 chassis /8 whilst Emerson took on the new chassis /9 in 1975. For the 1976 season, new driver James Hunt inherited Mass’ /8 and Jochen took on Emerson’s old /9. So a progression of chassis through the seasons can be seen. Interestingly, in 1977 chassis /9 driven by Mass at Interlagos (Brazil) was effectively written-off when, Mass having spun off during the race, Patrick Depailler’s errant six wheeled Tyrrell later struck the abandoned M23 and inflicted such serious damage that /9 was never raced again. However, it was this very chassis that I should meet up with in restored form after Leo Wybrott (former mechanic and works manager) acquired the car and rebuilt it. Deriving all my data from /9, I built my model of Hunt’s 1976 M23. At that time, access to these cars was rare indeed and very privileged, so I wasn’t to know /9’s history or able to exercise any degree of discernment. For instance, Leo’s rebuild included a mild hybridisation of the oil catchtank and an unusual enamel grey paint surface to the inner monocoque, applied to tidy up years of accumulated scuffing of the raw aluminium surface. All these details are faithfully reproduced, so more accurately, my model is a replica of the restored M23/9 as it was, when Leo owned it. In subsequent years, when /9 was sold to an American owner, the stove enamel grey paint was removed, the aluminium surface restored and the car returned to original spec by Adams McCall Racing].
My first Brabham BT44B which I built in 1981, later donated parts to form a Hesketh 308 (wheel rims, engine and gearbox). Remains of that 1975 BT44B found their way into my spares box and contributed to the BT44/44B run (three cars), completed in 2009. The 1980 Renault RE20 became the RE30B, a Lotus 72D (Italian GP) became the 72D representing that driven by Emerson at the Belgian GP in 1972. My original Lotus 72 (built as a twelve year old) was later dismantled, tidied-up and converted into Fittipaldi’s 1971 Gold Leaf Team Lotus 72, while Niki Lauda’s Ferrari 312T was converted into the 312B3 driven by Regazzoni in 1974. The Tyrrell F1 Ford (002) model given to me by a school teacher had an interesting life and is currently waiting to be reborn as Tyrrell 001, more of that later. These early conversions were mainly the product of my discovery of automotive spray cans and the recognition that hand painted models (enamel paints) was something that I had decided was no longer acceptable; this was thanks to meeting my good friends Andy W, Richard H and being wowed by the finish on the cars by Shane P at my first Scale Formula Club event in Pershore in 1996 I believe. Everything is recycled, it seems.
2) Currently existing past-projects, form two main groups; firstly the earlier acceptably well made models and secondly the more recent models built with additional skill and high standards in mind, these qualities I hope improving all the time.
Within the lesser group reside a 1967 Jim Clark Lotus 49 and a Graham Hill Lotus 1969 49B (conversion), both worthy of consigning to the spare parts bin once updated versions are underway. Next up are a Ferrari 1971 312B2, a 1976 Ferrari 312T2, a 1979 Ferrari 312T4, a 1977 Wolf WR1, a 1980 Alfa Romeo 179 and a 1992 Willams FW14B, all these being essentially nicely built, straight out of the box, little else to commend them. A lovely 1980 Ferrari 312T5 was also built from the box with some nice super-detail accents here and there, however this was sold (the first and only model I have ever sold) to a respected historic race and road-car Ferrari dealership as a Reception Area display item on a presentation base. Following these in chronology are a nicely super-detailed 1986 McLaren MP4/2C and then the more serious projects.
In the second, more elite group are the 1968 Matras MS10 and MS11 cars, the Hesketh 308, the McLaren M19C, the Lotus 49/R1, the 1974 Brabham BT44 and its 1975 BT44B successor. The 1974 McLaren M23/5 (car number 5) that fronts the home page of this website, is also in this group. This strong favourite model of mine is no longer in my possession, having been built for one of Emerson Fittipaldi’s mechanics (Kerry A) as a gesture of thanks, however its build and final presentation are preserved digitally. The model itself currently lives in France supported by a plaque signed by Emerson himself. Likewise, the 1974 Brabham BT44 which was built as the first of three, was built for the designer at his request, a certain Gordon Murray. Therefore, many of the photos relate to that car and some also to my own BT44 and 1975 BT44B.